So Liz Starts a YouTube Channel…

Because life is better (and funnier too) in living color!

What are some topics/ideas that you would like me to cover? Reach out at liz4fitness@gmail.com

 

 

Looking foward to this new adventure!

 

Liz Jackson

The Elephant in the Room

I hope you managed to see my previous post that is the precursor to this post!

But just in case you missed it…

This won’t make sense if you don’t listen to the podcast so here is your homework:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/589/tell-me-im-fat

 

I have been brooding about this topic for at least a week; questioning whether I should write about it or not and I find myself convincing myself not to and then again finding myself convincing myself I must. What a predicament! 

This topic is touchy, tricky and will probably hit you somewhere between offended or reflective and I apologize in advance.

When I first started listening to this podcast I told myself to have an open mind and really listen to the words, stories and explanations. I digested the ideas, feelings and information over and over and I just can’t wrap my head around a few things (which probably why I am here…).  While there are a couple issues discussed in the podcast that I don’t quite agree with, like the ORU “scandal” ,those really aren’t the focus of my post today and I don’t go over them.

Listening as someone that is not overweight I am indeed “on the outside looking in” but I think there is something missing from this segment; the part where this isn’t just about being “fat”. The guests on the podcast give you the general feeling that ALL people that aren’t fat judge people that are, considering them less worthy of normal manners or sympathies because of their weight.  They tell you to stop “fat shaming them” or telling them how wrong they are about their life because we don’t really “care” about their health. Going further to express that, in reality, we just find them gross or negligent or lazy when that may or may not be the actual case-and that it truly isn’t any of our business anyway.

I am going to stop short of going full on “politics” as things like: The Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare and Welfare benefits ALL come to mind because they are, as a tax paying citizen, INDEED my business and if there happens to be a condition being treated under any of those aforementioned entities caused by the pre-existing condition of unnamed subject then maybe I AM a little miffed.  ANYWAY.

Here is my deal.

I take care to listen to my vessel, keeping health in mind for myself, my family and OUR future…because I want to have one. I call this: Personal Accountability.  Now I do realize that every person has a different amount of personal accountability or a shifted view from what I consider personal accountability and I am here to tell you that it is OK! But don’t assume that I am somehow un-phased, above scrutiny OR an overly judgmental human because I hold MYSELF accountable.

I beg the question, Have you ever been the presumably skinny girl in a group of slightly overweight/obese or otherwise unfit individuals? That judgmental stigma that is suggested throughout the podcast goes both ways my friends. While there are many that ASSUME that if you are fat you are not fit; there are those that ASSUME that since you are fit you don’t have to try to be that way. I don’t know how many times I have heard, “O, I bet you eat like a mouse!” (in a southern drawl to boot) “Honey, if I had your figure…O well, time will take care of you!”

….No one ever asked about how I was up at 6am to run, in the gym lifting after work or the walk I took after dinner.

….No one ever asked about how I took the time to understand that I need X many calories in a day and how to properly manage them throughout the day to fuel and not overfill my body.

People ASSUME a LOT (on both sides of this coin), like I don’t have to work to remain HEALTHY (notice I didn’t say thin).

One other thing that strikes me in this podcast is one guests suggestion that “we”( as in thin people) don’t like that fat people (her words, not mine) take up more room in on an airplane, in a restaurant or _____ (you get the idea). Well… I hate to sound-rude. BUT, I think it is kind of rude to expect it to be ok for you to spill over into my seat making my trip even more cramped than it already has to be (we are talking coach seats people, I ain’t rich) and then expecting me to just roll with it and not be a little annoyed.  What if we swapped? Would you be ok with me taking up my seat and half of yours? This isn’t judgment; this is showing decency and courtesy towards others and personal space (I paid $ for my seat too…)am I wrong to want to expect my personal space to be respected?

I think the thing that frustrates me is this stigma that this “judgment” only goes one way; I am here to tell you that it doesn’t.  I have been the subject of much scrutiny for being thin (ASSUMED with no effort at all or not eating at all), considered unintelligent for being a blonde-and considered even more so by being blonde AND being young…er than others (though I am losing that one quickly), eyed suspiciously for not helping myself to a “all you can stuff” free food bonanza at work and considered extreme and radical for carving out time to go the gym several times a week. I’ve been told I am too skinny, too muscular, too fat (yes, that has happened), too fit, ugly.  I have been told this straight to my face and I am expected to take it in stride and not be offended. BUT if I told someone that they are overweight, obese or fat to their face….things like this podcast happen (by the way, I would never tell someone that with intention to hurt them).

It is mentioned in the podcast that there are MANY considerations to take in when you are looking at someone’s weight; genetics is one. I get that, some of us are pre-destined to have bigger bones, carry our weight in our hips or around our waist more easily. Some of us have broad shoulders and long legs. Some of us are born under 10lbs and have a fair chance at being healthy, active, whole-spiritually, mentally and physically even if that doesn’t  necessarily equate to being  thin- O wait, that is 99% of us.

Another that needs consideration is medical conditions that cause unintentional weight gain…and even weight loss. I can agree that it is impossible to know what a person is combating in a snapshot of time while we pass them on the street or see them in the store. But that also brings us back to assumptions. Assumptions are a dangerous thing and often hurtful thing!

However, I will venture to say that there are MORE conditions or diseases caused BY weight gain than weight gain caused by conditions/deseases.

The socio-economical factor is actually more detrimental and foreshadowing than the “genetics card” or even the “medical card” in my mind; I am talking about habits, lifestyles and education levels.

If you grow up in a family that knows nothing about nutrition, does everything in its power to play to convenience and simplicity (taking the elevator vs. the stairs, eating out at Italian buffet vs. cooking at home) and doesn’t at least make a small effort to be healthy then it makes perfect sense that you, your parents and their parents…and their parents’ parents are all overweight. What I call the domino effect occurs naturally within the family unit and it truly answers the statement, “I don’t know why I am overweight”- you’ve never known how NOT to be.

On the flip side, if you grow up in a family that puts at least small efforts into staying active, eating for nutrition; planting seeds of knowledge about both of those things (or effort to that affect, even if it’s misled or false information)-it makes perfect sense that you would be relatively trim, athletically built and have more endurance. It also answers the question (that you might have a hard time answering), “How do I stay healthy?”-you’ve never known how NOT to be.

I do not believe it is overly difficult to stay HEALTHY (notice I didn’t say skinny) and I personally have no ill feelings towards anyone that has a six pack of abs or not a single one-as long as you are indeed HEALTHY.

And here in lies my question; are you? Be honest. Are you HEALTHY?
Do you take the time to learn about different types of foods, what is considered healthy vs. not healthy? I am not even suggesting that you HAVE to exercise but are you able to walk up a few flights of stairs if needed without feeling like you need oxygen or able to walk the dog and enjoy it without being overly winded? What if your child wants to play tag or run around the house, can you accommodate them or are you more apt to turn them towards the TV or video game? Do you take medication for conditions that could possibly become unnecessary with less fat in your diet, losing a little weight or being a little more active? Don’t misconstrue my intention. I am not telling you that you are less or more for your answers here, I am simply asking for self-reflection.  If you answered yes to the “healthy” question- GREAT! I don’t care if you are thin, fat or somewhere in the middle-as long as you FEEL and ARE HEALTHY.

See, I reject this idea that I don’t “care” about an overweight individual. I care. I care more than just about your physically appearance. How are you feeling mentally? Are you HAPPY (and I am here to tell you that thinking you’ll be happier skinnier is a fallacy that needs to DIE)? Are you indeed HEALTHY-in a way that you feel good about?  How is your family; are is your KIDS healthy and happy-are you striving and able to give them a good start to a FAIR fight for a decent future?

The answers (to all my questions posed here) will be multifaceted and everyone will have a different interpretation of what is whole and healthy for THEM. And you know what? That is OK.

I want you to understand something. Some of the most gentle, caring, BEAUTIFUL souls I know couldn’t fit into a size small, or a medium for that matter, and I couldn’t care one iota about it.  Those wonderful few that I allow close enough to know me well enough to understand that I have no true malice towards just about anyone no matter their shape have given me the chance to love them without prejudice and I am thankful for the opportunity.

I think what I am trying to do is ask for something.  Give me some credit, a chance to prove that every person that I come in contact with comes to me on a level field. Whether you run 10 miles a day or eat McDonalds for every meal, I meet you with ZERO presumptions or assumptions-do me that same honor. I can’t speak for everyone, nor do I try to (and I definitely don’t want to) but I know my head and I know my heart.

As my friends (whether we are friends or strangers it really makes no difference) thick or thin, fit or fat-you are not judged by me, I am much more interested in your whole health and your whole heart.

To Whole Health with my Whole Heart,

Liz

Let Me Give You Some Homework

I listen to podcasts on nearly a daily basis and one that I have recently added to my list is This American Life.

I listened to the podcast below a couple of weeks back and I am challenging you to do the same.

I have a post that is scheduled to come out on Wednesday the 29th over the topic discussed and I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Please know, that I mean no malice, I have zero intent of hurting anyone’s feelings. I find this podcast quite interesting and slightly infuriating.

How do you feel about it?

See you Wednesday!

Here is the link:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/589/tell-me-im-fat

 

Liz

 

Public Education is Dead

publicedcaiton

I have no illusions, I am not the most educated on the issues surrounding our state but I do strive to have a general knowledge of it.  

One thing I do know is that we have all seen the budget cut articles, felt the squeeze in our local classroom, seen the cuts first hand at the loss of our child’s extra-curricular activity; whether that be a specialized art or a sports team. I personally have had more than one conversation between current and past teachers and each conversation leaves me feeling just a bit more hopeless.  

How are we supposed to be the seemingly smartest, most talented nation in the world, raising kids with exponential possibilities before them if we can’t even properly educate our youth to become that talent?

I look into the money trail and incredulously wonder how millions of tax payer dollars can just “disappear” with no answer as to where it went and then further question why we ever brought the lottery into the state when the greatest promise made from that was money for education.

With seemingly every state in the red I am starting to question how long our public school system (or any public “system” for that matter) is going to survive.

States don’t want to pay our teachers properly (at least not in Oklahoma) and with horrendous class sizes and expectations put on teachers for very little return it is no wonder we have a shortage of qualified and to go one step further, EXCITED teachers. I know several that teach because they love to teach and they pay dearly for it; sacrificing more time and energy than is fair, yes by choice but not only do they choose it- they have a higher calling and feel that in their life. They know if they don’t NO ONE WILL and that keeps them getting out of bed in the morning after they didn’t fall into their beds until late into the night from preparing or grading or planning for their classrooms; hundreds of hours they are never paid for other than through smiles and invisible light bulbs going off over the heads of struggling youth.

I know I am not alone when I say that I am so very concerned about the state of our schools and the future there. Protests have been held, letters have been written and meetings had but there seems to be no traction; at least not for the little guys (and I mean that literally and figuratively). State and Federal Government continue to cut dollars for budget shortfalls (though I seem to be paying more and more in taxes each year myself) and this goes well beyond just educational cuts, hitting the poorest of the poor, the elderly and downtrodden. You’ll remember my previous post about the Medicaid cuts that are going to be treacherous on our dear state.

What are our legislators thinking?! What needs to happen for the tide to turn? Who needs to open their eyes? Is it us; is it them? I don’t want to contribute to these problems-and as a citizen I feel that starts with how I vote in elections-but even that doesn’t go my way (two words: Mary Fallin). Are my hands tied, are yours?
More questions than answers.

I look into the very near future and see our public high schools disappearing completely. I see private organizations taking over lower grade education and virtual home schooling for higher grades. The option to do public home school is already in full swing and growing in popularity every year and while it might seem like a great option for a struggling student I wonder of the social consequences. Students must know how to interact in person to person settings. I have already noticed that an alarming number of kids under the age of 20 or so have a hard time engaging in a full conversation with me while also exhibiting proper behavior for a conversation: eye contact, attention, engagement. Too wrapped up in their stupid cell phones, distracted by the fictitious world of Facebook, IG and Snapchat.

Then to bring my mind a little further past my current borders I wonder if privatizing education would be all that bad? Teachers would work with private companies, possibly being paid a decent salary and have manageable class sizes and doable workloads. Doesn’t seem so terrible, until we count the costs. How many can truly afford private education?

As a parent I find this tumultuous time quite scary. I want the best for my son, as I am sure you want the best for your child. I wish I had more answers than questions and better feelings for his future and the future of education as a whole.  For now, though, I am focusing on saving money for his education and I suspect that the costs will start WAY before college ever does.

… Maybe I need to invent an education fund like the 529 plan but call it the 712 plan, covering costs from 7th grade to 12th grade graduation.

As Confused as You Are,

Liz Jackson